Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Pituitary Cancer Treatment?
Our hospital has the privilege of being equipped with state-of-the-art technology, under which our talented and experienced medical professionals can perform surgery for pituitary cancer with minimal risks of postoperative complications. If you choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, you will receive a personalized treatment plan for pituitary cancer, which will increase your quality of life and help you return to your usual routine within the shortest time possible. Since 1969, we have been providing the community of Los Angeles with quality healthcare. We will treat you in a warm and compassionate environment, as we place great emphasis on our patients' comfort and well-being.
Also known as the master gland, the pituitary gland is a small organ located behind the eyes and below the front of the brain. It plays a crucial role in the body’s functioning. It releases hormones that are essential for regulating critical organs and glands, such as the thyroid gland, the adrenal glands, the ovaries, and the testicles.
Pituitary cancer is very rare, as most tumors that develop on the pituitary gland are benign. Only a few hundred cases of pituitary cancer have been documented until now in the US. The majority were diagnosed in the elderly, and approximately 75% of them were found after the person passed away.
Benign tumors account for 30% to 40% of all pituitary gland tumors. When a pituitary tumor is cancerous, it releases too many hormones in the blood. Because of the pituitary gland location, pituitary cancer is often very challenging to diagnose, even by medical specialists.
The treatment for pituitary cancer depends on the size of the tumor, whether it has spread to other parts of the brain, the age of the patient, their general health, and their preferences. Surgery may be necessary to remove the malignant tumor.
The patient will receive chemotherapy or radiotherapy following the procedure to make sure no cancerous cells remain in their brains. The purpose of the surgery is often to remove the entire pituitary gland. However, before the surgery, the medical professional must determine whether the tumor is smaller than 10 millimeters (microadenoma) or larger than 10 millimeters (macroadenoma) and whether it produces hormones and whether it has spread to nearby brain tissue.
In addition to standard treatment, medical researchers found that making certain lifestyle changes may improve your prognosis to a great extent, such as:
- quitting smoking and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption
- engaging in regular exercise and physical activity
- a balanced diet
- getting plenty of sleep and frequent relaxation to prevent fatigue
- meditating and doing yoga
There are multiple types of pituitary tumors, depending on the hormones they release in the bloodstream, namely:
- adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting tumors: these account for 16% of all pituitary tumors and secrete too much adrenocorticotropic hormone, which leads to the development of Cushing’s syndrome
- growth hormone-secreting tumors: these pituitary tumors release too much growth hormone, and the symptoms that accompany them include high blood sugar, abnormal sweating, and growth of excess body hair
- prolactin-secreting tumors: these pituitary tumors can reduce the levels of testosterone in men, and the levels of estrogen in women and the symptoms include erectile dysfunction and breast growth in men, as well as abnormal menstruation and discharge from the breasts in women
- thyroid-stimulating hormone-secreting tumors: they can be the source of hyperthyroidism and increase your metabolism, with symptoms including excessive sweating, irregular heart rates, and abnormal bowel movements
Symptoms of Pituitary Cancer
It is worthy of note that not everyone with pituitary cancer will experience symptoms. However, the most common symptoms of pituitary cancer are the following:
Diagnosis of Pituitary Cancer
The diagnosis of pituitary cancer begins with your doctor asking you about the symptoms you are experiencing. If they suspect pituitary cancer, they will order blood tests, whose purpose is to measure the levels of various hormones in your blood, as well as a CT or MRI scan, which will provide them with clear and detailed images of the inside of your head.
The pituitary tumor will be visible on the images, and your physician will be able to assess its location, its size, and whether the cancer has spread to nearby tissues. Pituitary cancer can spread to the following tissues and organs in your body:
While medical researchers are not sure what exactly causes pituitary cancer, they found that the presence of certain factors in your life increases your risk of developing this malignant disease, such as:
Since medical researchers have not yet found the cause of pituitary cancer and since it is associated with syndromes out of your control, there is no known way to prevent pituitary cancer if you have a susceptibility to developing it.